Guilty Crown Review & Characters – A Flawed Masterpiece


guilty crown wallpaper

A Flawed Masterpiece

  • Episodes : 22
  • Genre : Action, Drama, Sci-Fi, Shounen, Super Power
  • Airing Date :October 2011 – March 2012
  • Producers : Production I.G, Aniplex, Dentsu, FUNimation EntertainmentL

Guilty Crown Preview / Plot (No Spoilers)

Released in the last quarter of 2011, Guilty Crown is an anime set in a timeline where Japan is recovering after a deadly outbreak. Called the Apocalypse Virus, the epidemic all but brought the country to its knees. Without any hope of containing the virus on its own, Japan sought the aid of the United Nations, which in turn sent the GHQ, a quasi-governmental organization. However, the summoning of the GHQ came at a price, as soon, Japan found itself under its oppression.

Fast forward 10 years and the story starts. Shu Ouma, a 17-year old, passive, socially awkward young man, is pulled into an intricate web of deceit and controversy when a chance encounter with a mysterious girl leads him to acquire a mysterious vial that holds the “Power of Kings.” Inadvertently imbibed with a power that he did not ask for nor expect, Shu becomes a key player initiated by a rebel faction known as Funeral Parlor. As Shu gets deeper and deeper into the mystery of the Power of Kings and the reasons behind the rebellion against the GHQ, he has to be able to face the realities behind the secrets of his past, of the Apocalypse Virus, and of Funeral Parlor’s enigmatic leader, the charismatic and cunning Gai.

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Who does Guilty Crown cater to?

Guilty Crown can best be summed up as an action-packed anime that utilizes a range of tried and tested tropes, animated in the best way possible. Indeed, a lot of critics have lambasted the show for using plot devices and character templates that have already been used in the past. However, just as many fans of the anime have praised it for doing the very same thing. After all, most anime tropes, though used frequently by a number of shows, still remain effective in telling a good story.

Plot-wise, Guilty Crown may be considered a rare gem, but in its execution, it truly stands as one of the best. The pivotal scenes in the plot are animated in the smoothest way possible, emphasizing every little detail in the scene. The characters, though considerably falling under standard anime templates, evolve as the series progresses too. There are a number of times when the viewer will be pleasantly surprised by the developments done on even the secondary characters of the anime, as each character’s past and present motivations are revealed little by little.

What's so appealing about this piece of work.

Even critics of the show cannot deny the fact that Guilty Crown has a certain, inescapable appeal. In fact, even if one looks at the thousands of opinions on the show in the internet, one will find that viewers, critics and fans alike, are pretty unanimous that Guilty Crown is just simply aesthetically appealing.

The character designs alone are worthy of mention, as every detail in each character is meticulously rendered and animated. Together with the rich backgrounds that never skipped on the color palette, Guilty Crown becomes one of the most visually-pleasing anime series that was ever made. This is mostly evident during battle scenes, where the term “animation bump” becomes commonplace. Indeed, the visual quality of this anime is top-notch.

Apart from being a visual treat, Guilty Crown also features a soundtrack that is both subtle and beautiful. Featuring music from popular Japanese group Supercell, the series’ opening and ending themes frequently rank highly in the lists of best anime themes ever composed. Background music-wise, the series is spot on as well, as Guilty Crown utilizes tracks from numerous, even contrasting genres, all to great effect.

Guilty Crown Trailer

Guilty Crown Main Characters List

Shu Ouma

guilty crown Shu Ouma

Voice Actor :Kaji, Yuuki / Tsuda, Minami

Shu is a rather passive, socially awkward 17-year old high school student. As the main character of the series, he is thrust into the conflict between the rebel faction Funeral Parlor and the GHQ when he chances upon a mysterious girl, Inori Yuzuriha, in his school’s modern image and video research club, who was taking refuge from the GHQ. Due to his inability to protect Inori when the GHQ manages to catch her, Shu takes it upon himself to finish the mission that Inori was initially entrusted with – to deliver a mysterious vial to Funeral Parlor’s leader, the charismatic Gai Tsutsugami.

However, neither Shu’s nor Funeral Parlor’s plans do not go well, resulting in Shu gaining the Power of Kings from the mysterious vial, the Void genome instead of Gai. From that point on, Shu’s life is turned upside down as he becomes a member of the rebel group, serving as a central piece in the rebellion.

Inori Yuzuriha

guilty crown Inori Yuzuriha

Voice Actor :Kayano, Ai

Inori is portrayed as a relatively emotionless girl written in the template of Rei Ayanami of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Her past is a mystery, and she rarely shows emotion. An internet singing sensation from the musical group Egoist, she is also a key member of Funeral Parlor, the rebel faction opposing GHQ. Tasked with the mission of acquiring the Void Genome for Funeral Parlor’s leader, she ends up being injured. Taking refuge in an old building, she meets Shu, who fails to help her when GHQ forces finally caught up, beat, and capture her.

After Shu gains the Power of Kings and becomes a member of Funeral Parlor, Inori starts attending the same school and even lives in the same house as him. As they spend more time together however, the cold Inori stars developing something that is completely out of her character – affection.

Gai Tsutsugami

guilty crown gai

Voice Actor :Watanabe, Akeno / Nakamura, Yuuichi

The charismatic and enigmatic Gai is the leader and figurehead of the rebel faction GHQ. Prior to the start of the series, he sends Inori off to a mission to retrieve a vial containing the Void Genome, which has the ability to grant a person the Power of Kings. However, the mission goes awry and, through a series of fateful circumstances, Shu ends up being granted the power instead.

Despite not being able to acquire the Void Genome, Gai is still a highly skilled tactician, able to outplay even high-ranking officers in the GHQ with limited resources. He is also very proficient in hand to hand combat, as shown in numerous episodes where his fighting prowess is displayed in its full glory. However, there is much more to Gai than meets the eye, as his past holds many answers to Shu’s own.


Contains Spoilers

Guilty Crown Review

When Guilty Crown came out, it was reviewed by critics and viewers alike as an anime that was aesthetically pleasing yet lacking in originality. The plot’s movement and elements, as well as the character archetypes utilized by the show have indeed been employed in other anime; hence, a huge part of the series felt relatively uninspired to many.

However, while I do agree with some of the show’s criticisms at some points, I do believe that it is not really as bad as some of its critics paint it out to be. In fact, I am one of those people that can claim with all honesty that I have enjoyed Guilty Crown from its subtle beginning to its powerful finish. Simply put, I believe that Guilty Crown is one of those anime that came out at the wrong time.

Several plot elements that received a lot of flak was the development of Shu’s character, as he started off in the anime as a weak-willed, regular high school student. True, this is something that has become a trope in anime nowadays, as employing the everyman as the center of its show usually results in the character being more relatable to the viewers. While it is true that Shu started off as a weak lead, he does develop in the series, eventually turning into a person leagues away from where he started by the end of the anime. Besides, the utilization of the flawed hero is something that was utilized by other anime, like Mirai Nikki and Evangelion, and those leads were, though criticized, were understood and even received fondly by many.

Another aspect of the show that is frequently criticized is the development of Inori, citing that her development was very flat and her character was very uninteresting. However, if one looks closely, her development and personality were written along the lines of fan favorites such as Evangelion’s Rei Ayanami. Overall, the characters in Guilty Crown are not as unique as they can be, but despite their similarities to more well-known characters, the fact remains that they work, and through the course of the story, they evolve.

The ending of the anime is also one thing that has garnered less than positive reactions from critics, mainly due to its rushed nature and its sudden deluge of revelations that were crammed into the final few episodes. Again, as an objective viewer, I appreciated these as they were presented. Maybe the way that Inori sacrificed herself for Shu has undertones of other iconic events in other anime, maybe the show’s theme of music and the way it affects the heart of warriors has been explored before, and maybe Shu’s descent into darkness in the second half of the show echoed the events in anime like Gurren Lagann. Still, anyone cannot deny the power of the twists that happened during the final episode.

Overall, I see Guilty Crown as a flawed masterpiece that should have come out at a different time. The show holds a great premise and boasts an equally great execution to boot. It also took a lot of risks in the unveiling of its plot. I see Guilty Crown as a rare anime, actually. It is an anime that was aware of its flaws and still went ahead with them anyway. If you are the type of person that can watch this series with an open mind, as a person who takes it for what it is, then I guarantee that you will enjoy every single episode in this show. I tried it, and I consider Guilty Crown as one anime that I really enjoyed.

1. Voids – Reflections of the Heart

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The concept of voids is something that is unique in the show. Voids are generally items (weapons, usually) that can be conjured from a person’s heart. What I love about the voids is the fact that Guilty Crown obviously put a lot of thought in assigning each of the main and secondary characters’ voids.

Hare’s void heals, just as her personality suggests, Souta’s void opens any obstacle, just like he wants to be open with his friends, Yahiro’s is a pair of shears, as reflected in his fearlessness to cut whatever is deemed unnecessary in his life. Apart from this, each person’s void is also imbibed with a unique ability, reflecting the fact that each person’s heart is incomparable to anyone else’s.

2. Inori and Mana – Two Sides of the Same Coin

Guilty Crown Highlight 2 (1)

Inori and Mana are two females that have affected Shu, the main character. Mana is his sister and is the trigger for the cataclysmic Apocalypse Virus outbreak, while Inori is a vessel for Mana’s soul, who happens to be Shu’s muse in the present. As separate people, Inori and Mana are very different. In a way, they can even be considered as opposites.

Inori is known for her singing, while in the end, Mana displays skills in dancing ballet. Personality-wise, Inori is selfless while Mana is selfish. However, despite their differences, both of them are drawn to Shu, both for his strengths and his weaknesses. In fact, and ironically due to the fact that they are so dissimilar, they end up yearning for the same thing – Shu’s love.

3. The Price of Heroism

Guilty Crown Highlight 3

Guilty Crown is an anime that pulled no punches during its climactic final episode. By the end of the anime, no character remains the same, their lives irrevocably changed by the events in the series’ climax. The one that was affected most of all was the anime’s main character, Shu. Taking up the world’s weight by absorbing all of the Apocalypse Virus, he was nonetheless saved by Inori, sacrificing her life in the process.

In the end of the anime, Shu was shown to have lost his sight (due to the Apocalypse Virus), as well as his arm, which was cut off by Gai when the students of the school rebelled against him. Apart from this, he was shown to be alone in the end. It is one scene that never fails to get me, as the sacrifices of one man, and its repercussions of the hero years later, was finally shown in its full reality by an anime.


As stated above, Guilty Crown is not a perfect anime. Far from it, actually. However, its flaws are what makes it endearing, and the manner unto which the plot was unveiled for the viewer is something that rarely gets shown in anime. Truly, it is what I would call an imperfect masterpiece.

Peter

Writer

Author: Peter "Virage" de Jesus

In the game of life, the Universe deals us a hand of cards. Some revel in the fortunes they are provided. Others resort to clawing their way up with the bad hand that they are dealt. A number would fold as the years go by. Our existence is a game of chances, and in this game, we all play. I play life in Hard Mode.

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